|St. Louis Blues||
|David Perron (Getty Images)|
The Blues organization has produced a lot of young talent over the years (and it all started to come into its own last year) and this trio of recent is a great example. Perron has had some concussion problems over the past two years that have sidelined him. David Backes is not only the leader of this team in the locker room, he’s also perhaps its best player on the ice and this past season received his first Selke nomination.
The Blues used Lars Eller as part of the package that brought them Jaroslav Halak before the start of the 2010-11 season, while Stempniak went to Toronto in the deal that sent Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo to St. Louis. Both trades, especially the latter one, worked out quite well for the Blues.
I know all three of these guys are natural centers, but the forward depth at this point is a little thin on the wings.
Offensive scratch: D.J. King
In hindsight, you have to think the Blues would want a do over on taking Erik Johnson No. 1 in 2006 ahead of Jonathan Toews, Jordan Staal or Nicklas Backstrom. He was eventually traded to Colorado as part of a blockbuster trade two years ago, and while he never really lived up to expectations in St. Louis, Alex Pietrangelo looks like he’s on his way to becoming a force on the blue line for years to come.
Based on his play in Columbus this past season, providing some nice offense while playing tough minutes, Nikitin looks like he could be a useful top-four defenseman. Jackman, a first-round pick back in 1999, has spent his entire career in St. Louis.
Defensive scratch: Ian Cole
Oof. Not exactly a position of strength over the years when it comes to the draft. Marek Schwarz was a top-20 pick back in 2004 that never panned out. He’s currently playing in Finland. Ben Bishop has some upside but lost out on a numbers game this year due to the presence of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. He was traded to Ottawa at the trade deadline for a second-round draft pick.